The "exception in cases of rape" question to the abortion issue is one that has put many pro-life candidates running for public office on the hot seat. Of all of the questions we at LTI answer in classrooms, it is among the toughest. It shoots straight for the intersection between knowing what's true, and the gut reaction to what's right in front of you — the intellectual and the emotional.
You have to answer both. And it helps to assume that the person you're speaking with — or others in the room — have had a brush with this issue either directly or indirectly. It is very likely the case.
To give only an intellectual response is to seemingly ignore the
very real emotions surrounding something as hideous and tragic as rape —
a reality that can only be truly understood by someone who has
experienced it. It is true that I have not. My heart bleeds for any who
But even in grief, the deepest grief, we can know what is right. Though this is among the toughest issues psychologically — which should not be ignored — it is morally simple.
Morally, it's Case for Life 101: What is the unborn? Science tells us the
unborn are living, distinct, and whole human beings from the very
beginning. Philosophy tells us their value lies in the human
nature they share with the rest of us. And in a civil society, we cannot kill others because they
remind us of something traumatic.
"I don't like that answer," I tell students. Because when confronted with a victim of rape, my unchecked
gut reaction is overwhelming sympathy for the person I see in front of me.
But my dislike doesn't make the truth untrue. Just as my
dislike it doesn't make the world unbroken. Rape is horrible and once committed, cannot be undone. What comes next? If the unborn are human beings, the answer cannot be to kill the unborn.
I stand with the
Though it is a parallel issue, I think it is important to address
a community's duty to come alongside the victim of such a travesty, as
well as the victim's family, and walk with them through the difficult
months and years ahead. Rallying around those in need is the most human response. To "bear one another's burdens," as Paul writes
I include my thoughts on this in anticipation of the remark : "You care nothing for the woman! Only for the unborn." In
the past, I have been caught off guard by this heated accusation. I was
discussing the humanity and value of the unborn (thoughts and ideas) — my
accusers had no knowledge of my feelings on that or any other matter!
Had they asked, I would have gladly shared them, from which point they could not have accused me of not caring.
In fact, I care enough to keep talking about it, even when it's hard. If Christianity is true, and I believe it is, then the only real healing anyone can find from the worst pain inflicted by a broken world is in Jesus.